Windows Server 2022 is Microsoft’s newest operating system with many different options for business environments. When it comes to Microsoft Windows Server 2022 editions, there are many to choose from. Microsoft Server 2022 Essentials edition is a specialized version of Windows Server 2022, still available to a special group. What is Server 2022 Essentials, and how does it fit into the overall offering from Microsoft for Windows Server 2022?
What enterprise technologies are customers looking at today?
Even with the push to the cloud for many modern applications and use cases, many customers have adopted a hybrid cloud approach, still utilizing Windows Server on-premises. When considering Microsoft Windows Server and other technologies, customers today are looking for modern features and capabilities. What capabilities are they looking at? These include the following:
Security – Looking at technologies like Trusted Platform Module (TPM) to provide more hardware-based security solutions in the data center.
File-level encryption – SMB encryption and other technologies like BitLocker Drive Encryption
Software-defined storage – Storage technologies like Cluster Shared Volumes (CSVs) enable modern storage management and other features related to running Virtual Machines and file storage.
Modern management tools
Modern management tools – Customers are getting more familiar and using new tools like Windows Admin Center to manage Windows Server instances. In addition, Cluster Shared Volumes is configured with Windows Admin Center. Software technologies today allow agile operations and development that are not bound by antiquated storage bus layer technologies of data centers.
Modern operating systems provide customers with the capabilities and features to meet modern challenges and granular control.
What is Microsoft Windows Server 2022 Essentials?
It has been said before about Windows Essentials that Microsoft Windows Server 2019 was the last version of Server Essentials with Windows Server 2022 Standard and Windows Server 2022 Datacenter options for organizations for Windows Server 2022.
Windows Server Essentials has been a sweet spot for organizations with 25 users and 50 devices they need to service with office productivity apps and traditional web services, email services, and other small business services. These limitations are implemented by what Microsoft refers to as a client access license. Historically this has been a solution for small businesses.
Is Windows Server 2019 the last Server Essentials version?
Apparently not, even though that was initially thought and talked about early on with the Windows Server 2022 release. However, Microsoft, on their Getting Started with Windows Server Essentials page, notes the following:
“With Windows Server 2022, the Essentials edition is available to purchase from OEMs only. However, there is no specific installation media. Instead, an Essentials edition product key is used to activate the Standard edition of Windows Server 2022. You get all the same features. Learn how to get started with Windows Server 2022.”
Microsoft Windows Server 2022 Essentials Edition download
So, this is a specialized SKU that is not available as a separate installation of Windows Server ISO that can be downloaded from Microsoft. Instead, if we are reading this from Microsoft, the Server 2022 Essentials SKU is simply a license key available for OEMs.
You install Windows Server Standard Edition and then use the license key to activate the OS’s Windows Server 2022 Essentials edition.
Microsoft Windows Server 2022 Essentials vs. Standard vs. Datacenter
As mentioned, the Windows Server 2022 Essentials edition serves a very specialized niche use case for business-productivity purposes. When it comes to more robust and powerful enterprise capabilities such as running software-defined storage and running virtual machines, Server 2022 Essentials is not the version for those use cases.
It means that customers need to choose the Windows Server version that fits the use case needed. Microsoft Windows Server provides many options via the editions available.
Looking at Windows Server 2022 Standard and Datacenter editions
For more robust use cases, enterprises need to take a look at Windows Server 2022 Standard and Datacenter, and for virtualization and software-defined purposes, this will most notably be Windows Server 2022 Datacenter edition.
Windows Server 2022 Standard edition limitations
Windows Server 2022 Standard can run two virtual machines, plus one Hyper-V host per license, and you get 2 Virtual OSE/Hyper-V isolated containers. While Windows Server 2022 Standard edition can run virtualized workloads as mentioned, it may not be cost-effective to do that. It has been said that it usually starts paying for itself to buy Windows Server Datacenter edition when you run 10 virtual machines or more. This is definitely a licensing consideration.
Robust Virtualization and Enterprise capabilities require Windows Server Datacenter
With Windows Server 2022 Datacenter edition, you get the full set of capabilities with Windows Server 2022. Windows Server 2022 Datacenter can run unlimited virtual machines and containers without limited virtualized resources based on license restrictions. Windows Server 2022 Datacenter edition also provides the full suite of software-defined capabilities such as Storage Spaces Direct and can also do network virtualization.
You can also run Server Core with Windows Server Standard or Windows Server Datacenter edition.
Viewing virtual machines in the Hyper-V Manager.
Beginning the process to create a virtual machine.
Viewing the properties of a Windows Server 2022 virtual machine.
Microsoft Windows Server 2022 Licensing
Windows Server 2022 Datacenter – Ideally for highly virtualized datacenters and cloud environments. License model is core-based and CAL requirements are Windows Server CAL. Suggested MSRP is $6,155.
Windows Server 2022 Standard – Physical or minimally virtualized environments. License model is core-based and CAL requirements are Windows Server CAL. Suggested MSRP is $1069.
Essentials – Small businesses with up to 25 users and 50 devices. Licensing model is Specialty based and No CAL is required. Suggested MSRP is $501.
You can get more detailed information directly from Microsoft: Windows Server 2022 Licensing & Pricing | Microsoft
Microsoft Windows Server 2022 Requirements
What are the hardware requirements for Microsoft Windows Server 2022? The CPU requirements include:
- 1.4 GHz 64-bit processor
- Compatible with x64 instruction set
- Supports NX and DEP
- Supports CMPXCHG16b, LAHF/SAHF, and PrefetchW
- Supports Second Level Address Translation (EPT or NPT)
- 512 MB (2 GB for Server with Desktop Experience installation option)
- ECC (Error Correcting Code) type or similar technology, for physical host deployments
Windows Server 2022 Essentials is a specialized version of Windows Server. It is a specialized for small to medium sized businesses with that sweet spot of 25 users and 50 devices. While Windows Server 2019 was touted as the last Essentials edition, Microsoft has once again brought forward a Server 2022 Essentials version for businesses that is only available through an OEM.